Discussions on all aspects of Imperial Germany not covered in the other sections.
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- Location: Quantico, VA
While reading a popular wartime account of the German attack on the French fortress of Camp des Romains on 25 September 1914, I ran across the phrase "Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit." It appeared in the following sentence, "Die uns zugeteilten 16. Pioniere begannen bereits am Abend ihre Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit, besonders in dem das ganze Fort umgebenden Gewirr von Drahthindernissen." ("In the evening, the pioneers of the 16th [Pionier Battalion], who were parceled out to us, began their 'Heinzelmann activity', especially in the tangle of wire obstacles that surrounded the entire fort.")
When I conducted an internet search on the phrase, every example of the use of the phrase "Heinzelmann-Tätigkeit" that I could find was, marvelous to say, embedded in the sentence quoted above. Thus, while I discovered a great many instances of plagiarism, I was no wiser as to the meaning of the expression.
I am sharing this post in the hope that one (or more) of the participants in this forum can shed some light on this little mystery.
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Heinzelmännchen are the "house gnomes" of Köln who did worked all night so the people of the city could laze away their day.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.
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